Porter Press International marked its 15th anniversary in style in 2020, publishing more books than ever before and enjoying its most successful year. Far from resting on his laurels, however, founder Philip Porter is looking forward to continuing that growth. ‘There is no time to sit back,’ he said. ‘We have a load of very exciting books in the pipeline. It’s like a drug, and I'm hooked!’
It all began with the late Sir Stirling Moss. Having written around 25 motoring books himself, including a number of renowned reference works on Jaguars, Philip Porter always had ambitions to start his own publishing company. Becoming great friends with his childhood hero, and discovering that Moss had kept wonderful scrapbooks during his illustrious career, proved to be the catalyst.
The first Stirling Moss Scrapbook was published in 2005, and was followed by three more Scrapbooks with Moss. Then the legendary Murray Walker entered the scene and worked with Porter Press International to produce the next in the Scrapbook series.
Both of those superstars gave the company enormous support for several years, and hugely popular signing sessions at major events such as Goodwood helped to lay the foundations for further success.
In 2014, Porter initiated the celebrated Great Cars series, and soon added the Exceptional Cars range as well as, more recently, the twin-volume Ultimate titles. There was also a growing number of bespoke books and an increasing range of hand-bound special editions.
Several leading magazines have commented that they cannot make Porter Press publications ‘Book of the Month’ as often as they would like because they will appear biased! Almost all ‘Book of the Year’ awards have had at least one, sometimes two, Porter Press books shortlisted, and in 2019 The Self Preservation Society – 50 Years of the Italian Job won the prestigious Royal Automobile Club Book of the Year award.
The company has now published in the region of 100 motoring books, plus special editions of many of its titles. Its books are printed in Wales and an increasing number of them are being supplied direct from Porter Press International to customers all over the world. Its clients include JCB, INEOS, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover, as well as leading international collectors, and its three managers have combined service of more than 50 years with Philip and Julie Porter’s companies.
‘I often say “It’s a tough old game” with reference to publishing motoring books,’ said Philip, ‘proven by so many companies sadly going out of business or wisely giving up for an easier life! But we are driven by long-term passion – passion for interesting cars and motorsport, and for creating fabulous books. We benefit from tremendous support from our very loyal customers worldwide.
‘It is tough but an exciting, rewarding business to be in. We continually strive to be the best, and of one thing I am certain: we have the finest team in motoring book publishing in the world. That makes me very proud. And it is all team work – our team of authors, editors and designers deserves enormous credit for all that we have achieved. They are such a pleasure to work with.’
‘Choosing someone to produce One Formula – my first book about my automotive career – was never going to be an easy decision as the book is the definitive document on all of my car designs. Philip and his company delivered a great product and I am extremely happy with the result. The recently published book on the Light Car Company Rocket is another great example of the work that they do. I look forward to working with Philip and Porter Press on many more interesting projects.’ Professor Gordon Murray, CBE
‘I thoroughly enjoyed creating the Scrapbook with Philip, a high-quality publication which has sold well and from which I took great pleasure gifting copies to my family and friends. The term “scrapbook” suggests it was thrown together, but in fact it was a lot of work pulling the words and images together from the various decades, and I still enjoy turning the pages from time to time.’ Martin Brundle
‘I would like to thank Porter Press and Philip Porter for the extremely professional and high-quality production of my “Group C” book. It was a pleasure working with them and I look forward to our next co-operation.’ John Fitzpatrick
‘I’m an automobile enthusiast and have assembled an extensive library… and have purchased and enjoyed Philip Porter books starting with those on Jaguars and beyond. I’ve found Philip’s mix of the written history, choice of authors, period photos and design layout to be entertaining and captivating. A library would not be complete without the books from Porter Press!’ Bruce Meyer, Founding Chairman of The Petersen Museum
‘Congratulations to all those concerned with the F1 GTR book, a masterpiece of printing and production. Some serious reading there, and I am glad the sketches reproduced so well.’ Peter Stevens
'The books arrived today. I am absolutely thrilled with the result. Please pass my thanks on to the whole team. It is a real achievement. You guys Rock!' Antony Michell, New Zealand
'The passion behind Philip's limited edition books leads to a depth in the research and understanding of their subjects that elevate them above other beautifully bound automotive books.' Howard Cohen, USA